The Ultimate Checklist for an Enjoyable and Effective Spring Cleaning

The Ultimate Checklist for an Enjoyable and Effective Spring Cleaning

Cleaning
By Ani Mouradian April 28, 2021

The time has come. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to live your best life by giving your home a good scrub and improving organization. There is a subtle yet very real joy that comes with being able to smell the clean in the air, having less stuff around the house, and no longer being burdened by the thought of chores you’ve been postponing. It’s even more refreshing after a winter hibernation that seems to have lasted a year thanks to stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and quarantines. It’s time to take a deep breath, put your gloves on, and give your home the spa treatment it deserves. If you can update a piece of furniture, add a coat of paint, or do a little landscaping as well, then the end result can be even more rejuvenating.

To get it right in the limited amount of time that you most probably have, it’s best to have a clear understanding of all the work a good spring cleaning entails. Here’s a spring cleaning checklist to guide you on this arduous but exciting journey and to help make sure you don’t forget certain things that often go unnoticed but that definitely deserve your attention at least once a year. 

Make Your Spring Cleaning Playlist

It’s important to do everything you can to make this feel less like the bane of your year and more like a fun project, with an emphasis on fun. Create a playlist that’s calming if cleaning is not your jam and you do so reluctantly. Create a playlist that is upbeat and happy to encourage you to keep going.

Tip: Choose fewer slow songs. A faster tempo usually gives you more energy and has you working in rhythm with the beat. If they’re all your favorite jams, even better. Breaking out into dance every few hours might just be the best way to get through your deep cleaning.

Making Spring Cleaning Fun

Making Spring Cleaning Fun

Next, Make Your Inner Hoarder Uncomfortable

Take a hard look at all the items in your home that might be past their expiration date. Not just the foods. Knick-knacks, decor, toys, and memorabilia - all the things that constitute stuff and clutter - can use a good sweep through once a year. Keep the ones that really carry meaning and value. To help you, you can use the two-year rule: if you haven’t used them in two years then put them aside to recycle, sell, or donate. Toss anything that is not working anymore or not in good condition.

Storage Matters When Decluttering

Storage Matters When Decluttering

Tip: If you haven’t gotten rid of DVDs and VCRs yet, what are you waiting for? Think of all the space you’ll save and all the dust that won’t collect if they were all neatly digitized on an external hard drive.

Make a List!

According to the American Cleaning Institute’s National Cleaning Survey, it takes 29% of spring cleaners two days to tackle it all, while it may take the majority around 6 days to get through their spring cleaning. Now, it's also the majority that almost never has 6 free days laying around anywhere, so it’s best to get organized and in the mood beforehand.

Spring Cleaning To-Do List

Spring Cleaning To-Do List

It really helps to make a list (two, actually). Make a list of everything you need to buy (baking soda, white vinegar, a new mop, dust cloths, cheap toothbrushes for difficult to reach crevices, gloves, storage bins, etc.), and a separate list of everything you need to do. When you see it all laid out before you, it is much easier to group and schedule tasks to fit into however much time you have. Now is also a great time to replace any light bulbs, chipped soap dispensers, or any home item you’ve been meaning to get a new one of.

Update Your Cleaning Supplies and Opt for Less Harmful Ones

A clean house requires clean and sturdy cleaning supplies. As you should with all the cabinets in your house during a spring cleaning, take everything out (cleaning agents, makeup, food items, medicine, everything) and throw out anything with a past expiration date. Add anything you still need and don’t have to your to-buy list.

Cleaning agents can be quite toxic and harmful to your lungs, which is especially a concern with children in the house. Consider making your own cleaning agents; it is super simple to do and the benefits are many: eco-friendly, less toxic, less waste, and kinder to your pockets. Here are some easy homemade cleaning agent recipes:

Natural Cleaning Agent Recipes

Natural Cleaning Agent Recipes

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid Castile soap
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of your favorite scented essential oil

Combine and spray.

For Natural Stone Countertops and Appliances

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 squirt of natural dish soap
  • 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil

Combine and spray.

Carpet Deodorizer

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 5 drops of your favorite essential oil

Sprinkle onto the carpet, let sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum up.

Fabric Furniture Freshener

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oil

Combine and spray.

Glass Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dish soap

Combine and spray.

Tip: Always test your homemade cleaning products on a small discreet area to ensure they don’t leave a mark.

Dedicate a Whole Day to Your Closets

Swapping your winter clothes for your spring clothes, technically, does not have to take too long. But since you’re already mentally prepared to go a little deeper in the spring, take this opportunity to cover more ground. Firstly, freshen up any clothes that might have developed some mustiness while tucked away for months. Then turn on the purge switch and filter through your collection. Set aside the items you haven’t worn in two years. If you’re really invested in living lighter and adopting a minimalist lifestyle, make that a ‘one-year’ rule.

Tip: Spray your clothes with vodka, let them sit, then wash as you would normally. This is a natural and gentle way to refresh your stale clothes.

Tricks for Freshening Up Clothes from Storage

Tricks for Freshening Up Clothes from Storage

Group Cleaning Room by Room

This beast is best-tackled room by room. For even more efficiency, thoroughness, and satisfaction, make a list for each room with every nook, cranny, and fix you don’t want to miss. You might think to group your spring cleaning by task type, ie. do all the dusting, then all the floors, then all the linens. But you’re essentially going to be bringing dust and debris into rooms you’ve already partially cleaned. Seasoned home polishers will affirm that it's best to bring a room to a sparkly state, shut that door, and then move on to the next room.

Tips: The kitchen and bathroom take the most time and also make the most mess. It’s best to save them for last as you’ll need to go back and forth into those rooms while you’re cleaning the rest of your house.

Acknowledge the Cleaning You’ve Been Avoiding

The Cleaning You're Always Avoiding

The Cleaning You're Always Avoiding

“If I don’t look at it then it won’t bother me.” It’s not an uncommon approach to the more time-consuming or unpleasant chores we tend to put off. But now is the time to just do it. 

  • Cabinets
  • Inside appliances
    Use natural cleaning products that will do less harm to your appliances and to you.
  • Windows
    Inside AND outside.
  • Lint traps and filters
  • Sanitizing toys
  • Bookshelf
  • Behind the toilet

Miscellaneous but Important Cleans

These are often forgotten ones, especially if your usual cleaning standard is “just the bare minimum”.

The Cleaning that's Often Forgotten

The Cleaning that's Often Forgotten

  • Defrost freezer
    A thick layer of ice hugging the inside walls of your freezer means your fridge is taking up more energy than it needs to. When the ice gets to ¼ - ½ an inch thick, it's time to defrost. Just unplug and let the ice melt on its own.
  • Refrigerator
    Your fridge needs cleaning inside and out and don’t forget to gently vacuum between the coils on the back, too.
  • Out front
    Sweep, wash, and clean — and not just your doormat. If time and budget allow, this is a great time to do lawn landscaping and have your home put you in a good mood even before you step inside.
  • Drains
    Degrease and deodorize.
  • Walls
    They need a wipe down too.
  • Flip mattress

Tip: Leave all the windows and doors open for a few hours during your spring cleaning to replenish the heavy air that has settled in your home. Make sure to air the place out after you’re done as well to get rid of any toxic elements or odors left behind.

Don't Forget to Add Curb Appeal to Your Spring Cleaning

Don't Forget to Add Curb Appeal to Your Spring Cleaning

Don’t forget to plan a treat for yourself at the end of it all. After a good spring cleaning and just in time for spring break, you will have done your mental health, your family, and your home an invaluable service that deserves celebrating.

Written by
Ani Mouradian

Written by Ani Mouradian

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